We'd all love more reading time, right? There just don't seem to be enough hours in the day for curling up with a good book and getting lost in a fictional world.
Well, I'm here to tell you that there is a way, and if you haven't fallen in love with audiobooks yet, then the time has come, my friend.
Digital audiobooks are the fastest-growing segment in publishing, as more and more of us discover the joy of listening to our favourite stories out loud. Whether you do a lot of driving, or like to listen while you work out, or even while you do a 500 piece puzzle or knit matching outfits for your cats, audiobooks are the perfect accompaniment!
Here are our top five young adult audio books to grip you and make the time fly, no matter what you're doing.
Top Five Young Adult Speculative Fiction Audiobooks
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
"Errand requiring immediate attention. Come."
The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things. When Brimstone called, she always came.
In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a 17-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.
Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.
The book that got me into audiobooks - I chose Daughter of Smoke and Bone for my 30 day trial book with Audible (other audiobook membership programmes are available), and within minutes I'd decided books on tape were definitely for me. That was more than six years ago, and I haven't looked back since! This series just gets better and better, Laini's writing is gorgeously descriptive and her world-building is second to none. If you've read this one already, then I recommend Strange the Dreamer as your next read!
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.
In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an 18-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.
Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament - fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin's heart be melted?
I'm willing to bet you've seen this book floating around Bookstagram or Booktok, but maybe you haven't taken the plunge yet, as an eight-book series with increasingly high page counts is a little intimidating. Well, I'm here to save the day, because, yes, Throne of Glass is as good as everyone says it is. Better, even, especially the later books (I'm one of those rare fans who adore Tower of Dawn, it might actually be my favourite!). And the audiobooks, read by Elizabeth Evans, are phenomenal. Plus, you'll know exactly how to pronounce all of the characters' names. Just don't ask me how to spell them...
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
"There are only two reasons a nonseer would see a spirit on St. Mark's Eve," Neeve said. "Either you're his true love... or you killed him."
It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive. Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them - not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain. He has it all - family money, good looks, devoted friends - but he's looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.
Maggie Stiefvater can create an atmosphere like no other. She has a talent for crafting fantasy worlds that are eerie, mystifying, and just a little bit bizarre. The Raven Cycle is a perfect example of this - the classic "boy from the local private school meets girl from a family of witches" story, but with added ghosts, talking trees and dreamwalking. I'd recommend listening to this one if you've heard everyone talking about it on Bookstagram, but you think it sounds a little...odd. It is odd, but in the best way possible.
And when you're done with The Raven Cycle, listen to Maggie's wonderful standalone, The Scorpio Races. You won't regret it.
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
A young bisexual British lord embarks on an unforgettable Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend/secret crush.
An 18th-century romantic adventure for the modern age written by This Monstrous Thing author Mackenzi Lee - Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets the 1700s.
Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.
So Monty vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.
If you're a fan of historical fiction, humorous romantic novels, with just a smidgeon of fantasy, then you'll love this hilarious romp of a book. Monty is a loveable rogue on one last jolly before he's forced to settle down and take over the family estate, Percy is his sweet, long-suffering best friend, and Felicity is Monty's older-than-her-years sister. With diverse characters and disability rep, this series takes historical fiction and drags it into the 21st Century. Listen to it if you need a fun, light-hearted read to make your commute fly by!
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
If you're a fan of true crime, thrillers and historical fiction, I can guarantee you'll love this series, which reimagines how some of history's most famous villains became the legends we know them as today. One of my favourite parts of this audio book were the additional materials Kerri included at the end, the depth and detail that she went into with her research on not only the source material but the time period, and in particular the forensic methods and scientific practices of the time, are incredible and fascinating to listen to! Plus it's a fantastic, dark historical romance with complex characters and a fresh twist on a horror story we all know and love.
BONUS: The Fair Queen by Lyndsey Hall
The trees in Hartwood Forest are hiding an ancient secret, a door into a magical realm where fairy princes and monsters are one and the same.
Seventeen-year-old Aria is bored of her small town and dreams of a life filled with excitement and adventure. She’s about to learn the meaning of “be careful what you wish for”. After a chilling encounter at the local summer fair, Aria is ripped from her normal life and dragged through the Veil into the Fair Realm by a strange, silver-eyed boy and his band of fairy soldiers. They believe she is the legendary Fair Queen, the subject of a prophecy that promises to unite the war-ravaged realm and bring an end to the centuries-long conflict between the Five Kingdoms.
But it can’t be true. Can it?
Beset by terrifying creatures at every turn and hunted by a tyrannical king who will stop at nothing to prevent the prophecy from coming true, Aria will have to rely on her wits if she’s to escape the Fair Realm with her life.
My debut novel became available in audio book on 1 December, so I had to include it in this list! If you love second-world or portal fantasies inspired by the fae, folklore and mythology, then you'll probably enjoy The Fair Queen. Book two was released in ebook, paperback and hardback on 31 January, and an audiobook will be coming later this year.
This article was written by Lyndsey Hall.
Lyndsey Hall is a UK-based YA fantasy writer and reader, and author of The Fair Chronicles. She writes novels and short stories filled with magic, heart-stopping action and swoon-worthy romance. Pick a cover to find out more.